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Goths and South Pannonia

Hrvoje Gračanin

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 242 Kb

str. 83-126

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Gothic presence in Southpannonian provinces can be observed in three different periods of history: 1. 379/380-408; 2. 454/455-473; 3. 488/493-537. The first period was marked by initial raids, settlements and the state of unrest among members of the group comprised of three peoples: the Ostrogoths, the Alans and the Huns. The rebel Visigoth Federates also made their presence felt under Alaric’s leadership. Except in the earliest stages of the period, i.e. before the conclusion of the federate accord (380), Southpannonian provinces were not exposed to immediate danger of the federates themselves, who in fact had not been settled there in the first place
(except perhaps in the part of Second Pannonia across the Drava river). However, their unreliability as the defensive line at the Danube border did instill a sense of insecurity in the life of the towns and villages. Neither did Alaric’s Goths, as far as we can tell, raid these areas, although the very appearance of an organized barbaric
army must have been cause enough for fear on the part of the local population. After Ataulf joined with Alaric, they left Pannonia. This meant the disappearance of the last remnants of the Gothic component of the formerly unique tripartite group. The second period started with the appearance of Valamir’s Ostrogoths, who chose to settle over a larger portion of South Pannonia, and subsequently gained the permission from the Eastern Empire, i.e. from Emperor Marcian (455). The Ostrogoths established three separate settlements, one of which was directly governed by Valamir, occupying most of Second Pannonia and the Eastern fringes of Pannonia Savia. This whole period was fraught with incessant offensive or defensive wars waged by the Ostrogoths. On several occasions the area between the rivers Drava and Sava became the stage for different battles (against the Huns in 455 and 466, and perhaps against the Sciri in 468). Its western part was traversed by the Suavi under King Hunimundus en route to plunder (467). Sirmium served the Ostrogoths as the command point during their attempts to penetrate the Illyrian Prefecture (459, 473), i.e. in the battle against the Sarmatians (471). The constant threats of attack from the outside and the frequent Ostrogothic expeditions made the life of the local
population impossible, which forced them to emigrate. Having exhausted all the immediately available resources of the region, the Ostrogoths left Pannonia (in 473).
It seems that the period after their arrival should also take account of the planned settlement of a portion of the Suavi in Savia. Namely, they must have formed massive settlements in Savia, since at the beginning of the 6th century the province assumed a name reminiscent of the name of this people (Savia - Suavia = Suevia).
The third period was marked by Theoderic’s attempts at bringing some order into Southpannonian provinces, i.e. to reinstitute the provincial administration which actually ceased to function ever since the beginning of the Hunnic rule over Pannonia (in 433, i.e. 441). This also had a military strategic and a political goal. At that time an important change occurred with Pannonia Savia and Dalmatia becoming a single administrative unit. Within the church administration this unity lasted all through the first half of the 10th century. What was once Second Pannonia, and then was known as Sirmian Pannonia, was structured as a separate unit, given that its southeastern-most edge, comprising the town of Bassiana, was agreed to belong to the Eastern Empire (in 510). The most numerous archeological finds date back to this period, bearing witness to Gothic presence between the rivers Sava-Drava-Danube.
Following Theoderic’s death (526) the power of the Ostrogothic state gradually started to decline. Although the Ostrogoths successfully repelled the Gepide attack on Sirmium in 528, Theoderic’s death was a clear sign of changing political circumstances. Finally, in 535 the Eastern Empire waged a massive war against the Ostrogoths with a view to achieving their complete destruction. In the earliest stages
of the war East Roman armies took over Sirmium, and somewhat later Savia, which the Ostrogoths had to relinquish for good in 537.

Ključne riječi

South Pannonia; Ostrogoths; Sirmium; three-people group; Visigoths; 4th-6th centuries

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